Severe Constipation – Extreme Pain, Complications

Constipation is a common gastrointestinal condition where stool is passed infrequent (less than 3 times in a week) with the passage of hard stool and where there is straining to have a bowel movement. Although constipation is not usually seen as a serious medical condition, it can lead to complications and some of these complications can even be life-threatening.

Complications of Severe Constipation

Complications are the other conditions that arise from a certain disturbance, disorder or disease. It usually arises when a condition is severe and left untreated. Therefore severe constipation, acute or chronic, has to be treated promptly otherwise complications mentioned below may develop.

1. Bloating

Bloating and severe pain, usually in the lower left abdomen may result from gas, produced by normal intestinal bacteria that break down fiber in the stool stuck in the colon. The left side of the abdomen is distended and usually tender to touch.

2. Lazy Colon

Lazy colon does not respond to presence of the stool in the colon and gastro-colic reflex that normally stimulate the bowel movement after food enters the stomach. Often even laxatives do not help. This poor colon activity may result from long term laxatives abuse, postponing bowel movements or prolonged bed rest. You often do not feel the urge to have a bowel movement. Lazy colon is a synonym for severe chronic constipation and does not mean a permanent colon impairment. You can achieve relief only by eliminating all possible causes of constipation and sticking with appropriate diet and active life style.

3. Fecal Impaction

In fecal impaction, a solid stool sticks in your colon and you can not expel it by your natural effort. It typically occurs in old bedridden patients, but can also affect other adults or children with chronic constipation or those taking opiates or methadone. A meal with a large amount of cereals without drinking enough fluid may also result in fecal impaction. In infants, rice cereals with milk could be the cause. Sensation of fullness or pain in the rectum, urge to defecate, abdominal discomfort, cramping, nausea and frequent urge to urinate are main symptoms. Clear stool may accidentally pass impacted stool; this is called paradoxical diarrhea. You may feel a hard lump when you press deeply upon the lower left part of your abdomen.

Sometimes you can remove the stool piece by piece using a finger, or a doctor can do so under local or general anesthesia. Forceful expelling hard stool is not recommended since your anus can tear. Water irrigation using a sigmoidoscope is sometimes necessary. Glycerin suppositories or phosphate or arachis oil enema may also be used. Stool softener, as docusate, may help pass the stool. If impaction is higher in the colon, an oral solution containing polyethylene glycol (as used in colonoscopypreparation) can be used carefully under doctor control. Rarely, operative removal of impacted stool is required.  Fiber laxatives, like metamucil, may be used as prevention of impaction (1). Read about foods that cause constipation.

4. Obstipation

Obstipation is severe constipation caused by intestinal obstruction, which may be acute or chronic, partial or complete. Constipation, abdominal distension, painful cramps and vomiting are main symptoms. Obstruction of the intestine may be caused by a polyp, cancer, scar tissue (adhesionsor strictures) developed after surgery or inflammation, volvulus (intestine twist upon itself – congenital defect found in infants), intussusception (telescoping, when one part of intestine slips into adjacent part; found in infants and young children), hernia, gallstones or foreign bodies. Certain diseases, like scleroderma, lupus or amyloidosis, can affect motility of the colonic wall. Ultrasound can detect excessive stool within the intestine. Obstipation has to be solved quickly by operation to prevent bowel perforation, bleeding or infection.

5. Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse is protrusion of a part of the rectum through the anal opening during the bowel movement. It usually occurs in old people with chronic constipation who have week pelvic floor muscles and strain during the bowel movement. Full-thickness rectal prolapse usually causes constipation, while partial prolapse involving only the rectal lining does not.

Bulking laxatives or stool softeners may prevent aggravation of prolapse, but sometimes a surgery is necessary.

6. Rectocele

A rectocele, mostly occuring in women after menopause, means bulging of the rectum forward toward the vagina. It happens after heavy vaginal delivery or constant lifting of heavy loads. The stool may be trapped in the bulge. A doctor can detect this bulge during a vaginal and rectal examination.

Kegel exercises to strengthen muscles of pelvic floor may help in mild cases (2). If a rectocele protrudes through the vagina, surgery is usually necessary.

7. Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a tear of the anal mucosa occuring during forced passage of large and hard stool. After the tear, you may feel severe pain lasting for several hours, and you may find blood on the stool or toilet tissue. Pain and bleeding during the bowel movements may persist for several weeks.

Treatment:

  • Warm sitz baths for 10-20 minutes few times a day sooth anal muscles
  • Stool softeners enable soft passage of the stool
  • Local analgesic creams relieve the pain
  • A tear usually heals completely in few weeks on its own, but sometimes surgical treatment is required.

Repeated injury of the anal sphincter by hard defecation may lead to patulous (widened, spreading) anus with diminished anal sphincter tone; a surgical repair is required in this case.

8. Chronic Hemorrhoids

Chronic hemorrhoids are common complication of chronic constipation. Treatment includes diet rich in fiber and fluid, physical activity, sitz baths, anti-hemorrhoidal and analgesic creams. Bluish hardened hemorrhoids with extreme anal pain and tenderness may result from thrombosed hemorrhoids, in which a blood clot form in the anal veins; an urgent surgical removal of a clot is required.

9. Non-Intestinal Complications

Urinary incontinence or infection or incomplete urine excretion are often connected with constipation where the rectum is full of hard stool.

Heavy straining may trigger heart attack or stroke. Holding breath and exerting raises the pressure in the chest cavity, preventing the blood from the veins to enter the heart. When the breath is released, the pressure within the chest drops and the blood having being trapped within the veins is quickly propelled through the heart, resulting in increased heart rate and blood pressure. Shortly thereafter, the heart rate reflexively slows down, what may trigger a heart attack in vulnerable persons. By the same mechanism, suddenly increased and then decreased blood flow in the brain may result in stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Additionally, a blood clot may be dislodged from atherosclerotic brain arteries resulting in stroke. These are two causes of not so rare “toilet deaths” mostly occurring in old people with severe atherosclerosis. Squatting position during the bowel movement greatly reduces a need for straining.

References:

  1. Fecal impaction  (nlm.nih.gov)
  2. Kegel exercises  (mayoclinic.com)
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
Health writer

Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. By using this website and the comment service you agree to abide by the comment terms and conditions as outlined on this page

Ask a Doctor Online Now!
  • laura

    my mom is 70 and severely constipated due to lazy colon, is there help for her she has tried everything it has been 5 days she she went I am afraid for her..please help

  • Jan Modric

    Laura,
    5 days without bowel movement is serious situation, if accompanied with shock, strong pain, abdominal distension, or rectal bleeding. So use common sense if situation is urgent or not. Some people don’t have stools for weeks…

    Like said in the article, the only way to treat lazy colon is to find a cause. Detailed history: when constipation started, any underlying disorders, results of tests so far, exact diet and fluid intake info, treatment trials so far, any anxiety or depression, stress, any resembling cases in family…a caring gastroenterologist should ask all this, make examination, and try to find an underlying cause. In extreme cases, when nothing helps, removal of a part of the colon may be done.

  • I just recently started with severe constipation…..I do not go unless I take a laxative……then it is uncontrollable.
    After a laxative, I think I will get back on track and it doesn’t happen. What is going on?

  • Jan Modric

    To June.

    How old are you? When exactly constipation started and have you changed diet ar started or stopped with some medication? Do you have any chronic disease?

  • I cannot move without a laxative. I am now eating salads three times a day and more fibers. I now take prunes. For a about a day or two, it is effective. After a while, there is no more effect. What do I do?

  • Jan Modric

    To robertoloscin.

    Can you say when did constipation start? Do you have any bowel or other disease? What is your average diet, do you think you drink enough? Are you physically active? Are you taking any drugs from any reason?

  • Thanks Jan Modric – I have been having constipation since birth. But recently last January, I started to have more sever constipation in that I cannot almost move. I have tested with colonoscopy, gastroscopy and many blood tests. Thanks God, they are all negative. I have already had angioplasty and am taking medicines – beta blockers, blood thinners and cholesterol lowering meds. I am 59 years old by the way. My average diet for the past years after my angioplasty has been low cholesterol diets. But recently due to this severe constipation, I have been loading a lot of fibers, prunes, papaya and yogurt. Also juices. Yes, I think I drink enough. The other day, I even drank a lot of water at night. This has not caused a lot of bloating. Instead, because of the water, I felt the sensation to move. But when it came to the actual moving, my efforts were useless. I still did not move, in spite of the sensation to move. Yes, I do treadmill everyday. I really need help.

  • Jan Modric

    Robertoloscin, here is what you can ask doctors:

    Any doctor so far expressed any opinion about a possible cause? Like lazy colon, congenital megacolon (Hirschsprung’s disease)? Have you had X-ray of the colon with barium enema? Did you have defecation tests (an X-ray image of the contrast-colored stool during bowel movement)?

    If you have atherosclerosis of coronary artheries you may also have atherosclerosis of abdominal arteries or an embolus from some other atherosclerotic arthery has lodged in one of intestinal arteries. This could cause ischemic colitis (inflammation of the colon due to poor blood supply; it appears with lower left abdominal pain and, often, blood in the stool). In addition, poor blood supply of intestinal nerves could affect nerve function and contribute to constipation.

    Some medications cause constipation as a side effect so check information leaflets.

    Excessive water drinking by itself is not a good solution since most of water is absorbed and does not contribute to the stool volume or softeness. Water (in reasonable amount) may help in combination with fibres. Some people reported how shredded wheat helped them.

  • bill

    i was on vacation, traveling from CA to Texas and back and had severe constipation..I tried to force an action and doubled up in pain..i was unable to urinate afterwards..the following morning, i took laxatives and it clean me out from NM to CAL stopping at every truck stop..i still have severe pain from the bellybutton down..had 100 degree fever and no appetite..please help

  • Jan Modric

    To bill.

    Fever speaks for infection or inflammation from some other cause.

    One possibility is diverticulitis:
    http://www.healthhype.com/what-is-diverticulitis-symptoms-diet-treatment-surgery.html

    Food poisoning with parasites is common during travel:
    http://www.healthhype.com/human-intestinal-parasites-symptoms-and-treatment.html

    In both cases you would need appropriate antimicrobial medication.

  • lilmama3.15

    I just got released from the hospital. I spent a day and half there because I had acute pancreatitis. I havnt been able to have a bowel movement in 72 hours now. What should I do? Laxatives dont help.

  • Jan Modric

    To lilmama3.15

    To have a bowel movement you need to have stool in the colon. Eat regularly, and if possible have a daily walk. Have a good breakfast, you can add some shreded wheat and a good amount of appricot juice. This should trigger a bowel movement.

    Constipation commonly appear during staying in hospital because of stress, pain and medications.

  • ctmat

    I have a problem with severe constipation and my GI doc told me there is nothing else he can do. It results from severe gastroparesis. This most recent bout took 13 days to have a bowel movement under the doc’s usage of diet and laxatives. He has told be that I am at severe risk of intestinal blockage and/or perforation with their obvious complications/possible death immenently if this cannot be controlled. Any suggestions??

  • Jan Modric

    Was gastroparesis confirmed by any test, and what was said to be the cause?

  • ctmat

    Yes, it was confirmed by a Gastric Emptying Study and has been followed the past 11 years by those and other Imaging Studies that track markers throughout my GI tract. It’s cause has always been debated by my doctors…one thinks it is a complication from diabetes-type 2. The other thinks this is unlikely because of the close diagnosis (1 year) to the diabetes because there are, and have never been, any of the more common complications to my diabetes which usually present sooner anyway. She believes the most likely cause is prolonged use of antidepressants (13 years at diagnosis, 24 now)-especially the use of tricyclic antidepressants in those many years before the newer SSRI’s came out.

  • Jan Modric

    Ctmat,

    yes, tricyclic antidepressants are mentioned as a cause of gastroparesis elsewhere…

  • ctmat

    Thanks Jan. I am still wondering about what my doctor told me about the complications of blockage/possible perforation. Can you give me a round estimate (I realize you can’t be exact) of the possible time it would take between a blockage and possible perforation?

  • Jan Modric

    Ctmat,

    living without constipation, without useless pain, is fine.

    Diet with some fibres in combinatioin with avoiding sugary food and not skipping meals, drinking enough (water, tea..avoiding soda, alcohol), being active – physically or psychically, and dealing with stress on the proper way – accepting what’s right, denying what’s not right for you..these are four basics for regular bowel.

    In general, you should not concentrate on constipation…or perforation of stomach – this is not a direction to go…

  • mkspriggs

    Hi there, I am 25 years old and I have always had a problem with not being able to pass bowlmovements normally. Even when I was in 6th grade I had to eat 6 prunes with each meal and that barely helped but no further tests were done. After have my thrid child by c-section, which I had a spinal for, it has got worse and I am having weight gain like crazy, Im talking 10 pounds a month, with a normal diet. Been to the doctor several times and they just keep giving me stool softners and none of them seem to work. Should I just ask to be seen by a colon specialist? Bowl movements are about once every two to three days with strain when passing. Any help would be GREAT!!! Thanks!!!

  • Jan Modric

    Mksprigs,

    any other symptoms beside constipation: bloating, gas, abdominal cramps?

    Is the stool hard, is there not much of product or you just have a hard time to expell it? What’s your current diet? What and how much do you drink?

  • mkspriggs

    Really bad bloating and cramps. Stool is hard and very little comes out. I do not eat sweets or anything fried, and lots of chicken (husband is military with hypothyroid so we eat veggies and fruits and loads of chicken). Maybe twice a month I will eat a hamburger from fast food resturant. I drink tea caffein free and I drink at least 6-8 glasses of tea and usually 2 glasses (these are 8oz glasses)

  • Jan Modric

    Mksprings, to avoid constipation it is essential to:
    – have regular meals (not skipping meals)
    – regular physical activity, like walking
    – drinking enough
    – enough fibres in the diet
    – avoiding painkillers

    Calcium or dairy products may aggravate consipation…

    Can you somehow figure out what makes you bloated? It may be 1. fruits (stone fruits, apples, pears and grapes), 2. vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, legumes), 3. grains, or 4. artificial sweeteners, like sorbitol or HFCS.

    Psylium husk or shredded wheat are good source of fibres…

    I recomend you to have some diet trials where you exclude certain groups of foods for 2-3 days.
    – You can try to limit chicken intake and try some “vegetable steaks” or so
    – Instead of potatoes, you can try rice or whole grain pasta
    – If you eat a lot of dairy, try to limit it, or go dairy-free for some period and see if it helps, and drink orange/lemon/grapefruit/strawbery juice instead. Try these juices instead of tea. Juices should not contain sorbitol or HFCS.

    Regarding you have longtime constipation, it’s not likely that colonoscopy would reveal some colonic growth or so.

  • browningm

    I had surgery on the 22nd of Sep. I had a Hiatal hernia repair/gallbladder removal. I could not keep anything down to include water. I went to the ER and they did all these test and I guess the scan told them I was constipated. I went home and took castor oil, phillips stool softner tablets, dulcolax pills, enemas,prune juice, coffee and another act not to mention. I got sick today and I think food I ate a week ago are coming back up. I know it was not recent because I can not keep solids down so I am doing all liquids for the time being. Help me….. please.

  • Jan Modric

    To browning.

    Constipation after surgery may be due to:
    – pain kilers
    – avoiding eating and drinking
    – inactivity
    – nerve injury during an operation

    So:
    1. Avoid painkillers and other drugs unless prescribed by a doctor
    2. Try to have regular meals, especially breakfast. Skipping meals = constipation. Include whole grain bread, morning cereals, green leafy vegetables, and maybe psyllium husk into your diet. Drink enough water. Prune juice or apple cider may help. Avoid sugary food, meat, eggs, cheese and other energy-dense foods that aggravate constipation.
    3. Walk. Physical and mental activity prevents constipation
    4. If nothing of the above helps, your doctors should find out if the nerves that innervate your stomach were injured during the operation.

  • aaricwon

    My pelvic floor muscle is always tight. It does not relax even when I try to defecate. I just had xrays and am waiting to hear from my doctor. I have had this problem for 2 years and it causes serious pain and constipation. I now have hemeroids because of straining. What is done to treat tight pelvic floor muscles? Is surgery an option?

  • aaricwon

    In addition to my post above: I’ve tried different exercises and tried totally changing my diet. The pain is killing me…

  • Jan Modric

    To aaricwon.

    How old are you, are you male or female? What happened two years ago? To recall more symptoms, you can check a medical history form:
    http://www.healthhype.com/patients-personal-and-family-medical-history-questionnaire-form.html

  • aaricwon

    2 years ago I started having terrible pain, losing weight, etc. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a hiatel (sp?) hernia, ulcertive colitis and gastritis after a colonoscopy. I was given a few prescriptions and sent on my way but the problem did not go away so I tried another doctor who did not see the colitis or gastritis but suggested me changing my diet to a high fiber diet. The pain may have died down slightly but never fully. I went back to the doctor last week finally and he sent me to have some special xray done where they actually put something in me that shows up on the x-ray and then ask me to do things like hold it in and then push it out. The doctor saw then that my muscle was not relaxing at all. This was just the doctor doing the test and he is supposed to send the results to my doctor.

  • aaricwon

    Also, I am 29 and male.

  • Jan Modric

    Aaricwon,

    you should find out, if you have colitis or not. Constipation, starting 2 years ago, does not sound like arising from pelvic muscles, unless you’ve had some injury or suffered from severe stress.

  • aaricwon

    Jan,

    My Dr’s office called me a couple of days ago and said my test results came back abnormal and then set up an appointment for me to see a surgeon. I have no idea what they are going to do. All I know is they said the results were abnormal and the lady on the phone tried to explain how the muscle was very tense and would not relax when it was supposed to. Do you have any idea what a surgeon will say or what surgery may be done?

  • LOA

    My father is 70. He has a food posioning a week ago. He is taking a prescribed medication. He has a constant pain in the stomach. He has no bwol movement since the food positing. He has no urge to eat any thing. He drinks alot of water & urine is fine but the constipation is not going away.It been 5 days. Doctor has given him different constipation medicine but nothing seems to be working…please help!

  • Jan Modric

    LOA,

    it would be dangerous to try solving this problem online. If his primary doctor can’t help him, he should visit a gastroenterologist.

  • Jenn88

    Hi, I am a 21 year old female, i, like others who have commented, have had severe constipation since I was a baby. I do not have a bowel movement regularly, every 14 days always, and it is hard and I always bleed but after a day it’s okay. I have never been to a doctor just because it’s embarassing and I am really scared of the treatment process or what tests they would run. I am not on any pain meds, eat regularly, do a fair amount of daily walking and I don’t know what to do to prevent this. I am miserable, my stomach hurts, my blood pressure raises and I am uncomfortable. Any over the counter suggestions for just a normal daily bowel movement?

  • Jan Modric

    Jenn88,

    being constipated from “always” often means there is some organic or physiological cause – in the colonic wall or the nerves that supply it. Usual investigations are X-ray with barium (lower GI), defecacography and colonoscopy.

    For you, two things are important:
    1. diet to maintain bulky soft stool and
    2. maintaining active peristalsis

    1. Diet: regular meals, containing fair amount of fibers together with fluid (not necessary large amount of both, though). Shredded wheat and psyllium husk are two OTC supps often reported to be effective. Whole-meal bread or any fiber-rich bread – something delicious to eat it with a joy. Bananas. Morning cereals. Some people drink prune or appricot juice in the morning (fruits with sorbitol attract water into the intestine; bloating can be a problem, so this is something to try and see). Green salad, spinach. Avoiding concentrated foods, like french frie, meat, cakes, sweets.

    2. Maintaining active peristalsis. Walking is good. Being psychically active, not staying in worries (anxiousness is a real obstacle in constipation), accepting challenges that demand you fully activate yourself.

  • susancaya11

    I began to feel constipated about 3 days ago. I feel a straining pain around my tailbone and about up to the lower part of my spine. I never get constipated but my son does so I had some Mirilax in the home. I took a regular dose of that and had regular bowel movements daily for the last 3 days but I still have that very uncomfortable pain in my bottom, tailbone, lower back. I have cramping all day long with intense stabbing pains in my lower region throughout the day. If I’m having bowel movements, why do I still feel constipated?

  • Jan Modric

    Susancaya11,

    what happened three days ago? Have you ate anything different, took some medicine or supplement? Any change in urine color or burning at urination? Does pain spread downward into the leg(s)?

  • Des

    I think i have a lazy bowel and i feel bloated all the time.I cant pass stool unless i take a laxative tea but it gives me diarhea and no hard stools..I want to do a colon cleansing wherby all the dirt should be eliminated how can i do that at home without any medication.

  • Jan Modric

    Des,

    it could help, if you can check medical history questionnaire and write down all relevant issues: when your problem started, what’s your diet, how old are you, are you physically active, diseases in your family, etc.

  • Heather123kids

    I’m 31yrs old and have had severe constipation for a few years. Recently I went 15 days before I could go. I feel like I could throw up and I get cramps when it gets bad. Sometea I bleed when I have a bowel movement.

  • Jan Modric

    Heather,

    any change in life or diet before constipation started?

  • painful

    I am always bloated and costipated. I go up to two weeks between bowel movements and they’re typically horrible bouts of diarrhea at that point.
    Sometimes when I am finally able to go, I’m doubled over in pain. My stomach is distended 24/7, but not painful to the touch.
    I have had 2 colonoscopies (polyps run in family), upper endoscopy to check for celiac sprue, and a laparoscopy to remove endometrial material from my colon. I’m gluten sensitive, dairy free and only eats veggies, fruit, water and lean meats (chicken, fish). I am gaining weight and swelling.
    When I sit down to have a bowel movement, my legs fall asleep and my rectum “aches”. I am miserable and don’t know what to do. I’m a 36 year old female. Please help. :-/

  • Jan Modric

    To painful.

    So, you don’t have hard and dried stool, but these bouts of diarrhea?

    It’s possible you have abdominal adhesions from endometriosis. Adhesions may pull on your intestine and block the passage of the stool.

    Ask your doctor, if the type of polyps that run in your family can appear in the small intestine, which can be investigated with capsule endoscopy.

    Intestinal parasites can be checked by stool test.

    To prevent bloating, you can try low-fructose diet (avoiding fruits high in fructose and sorbitol)
    http://www.healthhype.com/low-fructose-diet-in-fructose-malabsorption.html
    You can also check if avoiding foods hig in *soluble* fiber helps (soluble fiber from legumes, oats, and certain fruits can yield a lot of gas).
    http://www.healthhype.com/list-of-high-fiber-foods-soluble-and-insoluble-fiber-chart.html

  • bibi

    hi, i am 25 y.o. female, i have experienced constipation for about a month now (usually i go every 4-5 days …) last time after i went i experienced strong abdominal pain on the left that lasted the entire day and night , but when i woke up it was fine, i haven’t gone now for 4 days again and my stomach is starting to hurt again – i haven’t been very active for the past couple of months , lots of stress also sometimes a couple of days pass by when i don’t go out because i have lots to study – i usually drink 500 ml – 1l water each day and tea also, other than that usual food is toast, salami, meat, fish, rice, salads , fruit – normally i still have a hard time going (once every 2 days maybe) or if under stress it is diarrhea – thus, i am very worried if something is wrong with me now (does it sound very serious? … do you think it is because of lack of exercise (i had a very active summer – traveling and fitness almost every day) and since then i have been under stress again

    • Jan Modric

      To bibi.

      Stopping exercising and stress could both affect you. I guess you’ve probably also changed your diet a bit. Foods, you’ve mentioned, except salads, are low in fiber.

      What can you do:
      1. Physical exercise, even brisk walking would do, but at least 30 min/day.
      2. If you have to solve something with someone, work, place you live, try to do it right, and in the way you will be able to cope with it.
      3. More high-fiber foods. You can try with wholegrain bread, morning cereals, non-sweatened vegetable juices…and limiting animal food. Experiment with soluble and insoluble fiber. 500mL – 1L of water is not much, depending on how much you get with food, and lose with sweating. Drinking more water would help only in a combination with high-fiber food, and I dont say you need to drink “a lot”. If your stools are hard, try with soluble fiber (slowly introducing, since it can cause bloating).
      4. Pain, you’ve mentioned could be from constipation itself, especialy if it resolves completely from time to time. If you have no nausea, blood in the stool, fever…then a serious colonic disorder is not likely. You could have diverticulosis, though; X-ray with barium enema or sigmoidoscopy can reveal it. Ovarian cyst or related disorder (detected by ultrasound)could also cause constipation, but try with 1-3 steps first.

  • nic1

    Hi. I’m 25 yrs old and have suffered from severe constipation for about 18 months after having ulcerative colitis put into remission. Recently I have started eating more fibre foods and drinking more but haven’t opened my bowels for 16 days. I am in a lot of pain and feel terrible. I have just managed to go to the toilet a little but am still doubled up in pain. What should I do?
    Thank you

  • plzhelpme

    I am a 36 year old female suffering from chronic constipation. I take pain medication and have for the last five years. Most recently the doc started me on methadone for pain. It has gotten worse. It is 7-10 days between bowel movements with laxatives. when I do pass it is very hard and causes alot of pain. although, today my body is telling me to use the bathroom but I cannot move it. It is so painful I do not know what to do! I am straining so hard my head feels like something is going to blow up in side. I am scared! Please help

    • Jan Modric

      To plzhelpme.

      For how long are you constipated – from childhood? From what reason have you started to take pain medications? Have you had any test, like X-ray with barrium enema or colonoscopy?

      Are you physically active, drink enough of water and eat enough of high-fiber food?

  • my daughter aged 11 having lower abdomen pain , after passing stool some drops of blood can be seen and having tight stool with constipation .please suggest me .

    • Jan Modric

      mariyam,

      any bleeding from the rectum is considered as emergency situation. Pediatrist may order stool or othr test and decide if she needs to see a gastroenterologist.

  • bhootesh patel

    operated for gastric volvulous in 2003 suffering from lazy colon,been taking laxatives since 2003, severe pain due to spasm in sigmoid and descending colon,also taking various anti spasmatics and medicines,age 38 male please suggest option for severe pain or any remedy

  • LadyLynda0712

    My 68 year old aunt has not had a bowel movement in a month! MONTH! She is losing weight, and her lower back hurts a lot. She is afraid of doctors. I am very worried. Can she actually burst something or perforate a bowel? I can’t imagine a month with no BM.

  • LadyLynda0712

    To add: She is not running a fever (yet) and says she is trying a 7 day colon cleanse she saw on t.v. But she has been doing laxatives, etc. for the past month to no avail. I am worried because of the weight loss (not due from not eating, because she is).

    • Jan Modric

      LadyLynda0712,

      this will need to be resolved. She probably avoids food, so this is why she is losing weight. She can be also dehydrated. Her colon is probably full of stool and from here the pain. A gastroenterologist can irrigate her colon and that can help. There are other dangers than colon bursting (not likely), like dehydration, malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiency. She should also need to get advice about appropriate diet and, eventually, she will need some tests to determine a cause of constipation.

      If laxatives have not worked so far, she will hardly resolve this on her own.

  • LadyLynda0712

    Thank you. My aunt has not been to a doctor in 19 years and believes everything can be resolved holistically on her own and it’s very hard to change her mind.

    I’m afraid she’ll probably end up in the ER before she sees anyone, but I’ll keep trying. She lives in a bordering state so is not close to me so it is more difficult. I never thought about dehydration. That could be really bad. Thanks for the advice! 🙂

  • OKSoonermoom

    I am a 36 year old female that has been dealing with constipation that has progressively becae worse over 2 years. It is getting to the point where I am lucky to have a BM every 2 weeks, but lately as long as 4+ weeks. I also have been havin SEVERE pain in my mid back on the right side that wrap around the ribs and is getting worse, sometimes the pain is also on the right mid-upper abdomen under the ribs, severe vitamin d deficiency that has became worse recently (it stays at a 2)even though I am now up to prescription 50,000 IU’s weekly, also, my alt enzymes were very high but I just found that out a few days ago and the doc said we’d discuss it after the tests, severe heartburn with nothing relieving it, and when I do have a BM it is usually white or pale yellow, pencil thin and one side has LOTS of blood in it. Sometimes, only blood and water come out. It’s not from straining and no obvious hemorrhoids. I am on amitiza AND 4 caps of miralax a day but that still does nothing. Even suppostitories or enemas do nothing. I finally got up the nerve to schedule an egd and colonoscopy (my GI doc has recomended it but I have been quite embarrassed to go through with it!)but I scheduled it and put it off a bit (april 15th, over 3 weeks away)to do it as I am fearful and embarrassed of the entire process. Oh yeah, I’m not sure if it’s related but my glands on my neck have also been huge for a while now (the one on my left side under my neck is quite noticable and is larger than a walnut. and now I have enlarged glands under my armpits that are all so sore. I am so miserable and live with alternating heating pads and ice packs the apst week as the pain is unbearable. A 9 out of 10! Do you recommend getting in for the test sooner, or is it fine to wait that loing in your opinion? I am asking a neutral paryt that I do not have to see face to face as this is all hard for me to deal with which is why it has became this bad since I’ve put it off for so very long untill I can’t ignore it any longer. Please, any advice is appreciated.

  • OKSoonermoom

    I meant to put that soetimes the pain is also on the mid upper left side under the ribs that comes randomly, but always pain on the right. When I have the left sided pain is alwyas when the stools are white. Very white! Also, I forgot to mention that I am now very anemic, but they are avoiding iron at the time since they said that may make the constipation worse. Thanks.

    • Jan Modric

      OKSoonermoom,

      There could be a mass within your rectum that could obstruct it and result in constipation and pencil thin stools. The gastroenterologist that will perform the colonoscopy, probably have done it several times. Also, they will probably gave you some sedatives. Please mention you are severely constipated, so they can give you proper instructions how to perform a complete colon cleansing. This will take you at least two days of not eating, and drinking special fluids doctor will prescribe. You will probably need to correct your anemia before colonoscopy. Since I think there’s no time to postpone colonoscopy, ask your doctor to give you intravenous iron instead of oral pills (if you have low iron). This can correct anemia faster and lessen the risk of aggravating constipation.

      White color of stools is probably from unabsorbed fat. This makes stools smelly, floating and sticky (is it?). The cause of fat malabsorption can be a small intestinal disorder, gallbladder, bile duct, liver or pancreatic disorder. Ultrasound of the abdomen can often reveal the cause. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and can be absorbed only with fat – so if fat is not absorbed, vit D won’t be either. This can explain low vit D levels. Other fat soluble vitamins are vit A, E and K.

      Red (is it?) blood originates from the small or large intestine or both. The blood from the stomach would be black. The cause of blood can be a disorder in the small or large intestine, intestinal parasites or lack of vitamin K.

      Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and in the armpits can be from an infection, parasites and to say directly – from cancer or lymphoma, or leukemia, or other disorder.

      I recommend you to go to the hospital, wher you can stay for few days. Tests and treatments will need to be done in a certain order, before the next investigations will be done, roughly like this:
      1. Blood test for iron (and other minerals), vitamins A, D, E and K (and others, if necessary), white and red blood cells, liver enzymes, ESR, CRP, etc.
      2. Iron, vit D and other supplements, according to test results, preferably by intravenous route.
      3. Ultrasound of the abdomen
      4. Stool test for fat, blood, parasites
      5. Depending on results of previous tests, colonoscopy, eventual gallbladder surgery, gastroscopy or lymph nodes gland biopsy might be necessary in the order decided by your doctor. Before any surgery and even before colonoscopy, you will probably need to correct your levels of vitamins and minerals in the blood. If you have gallstones, colonoscopy may be painful (which is usually not)

      You have provided a good description of your problems here – every detail, like stool color, can be extremely useful for your doctor, so I encourage you to go through this personal medical history questionnaire write all your symptoms and other circumstances down on the paper and tell that to the doctor.

  • OKSoonermoom

    I want to thank you for your quick response. Yesterday evening, my GI doc called regarding some of the other blood work labs that came in and he urged me to get this does quicker. Today his office called and rescheduled it so I am now having the egd & colonoscopy done Thursday and started the clear liquids and the first step of the prep tonight. I am being admitted overnight tomorrow to run other tests and he wants a central line in too. He mentioned something about markers being very elevated. (He said they were CA something markers, but am unsure what that may be as he did not elaborate. Although he did once mention tumor markers so maybe that could be it it.) At this point I am so very miserable so it may be better to get it over with. My pain is trully out of control and I am so fatigued that I barely want to get up at all since I do not have the energy at this time. I know it is not my galbladder since it was removed from galbladder disease and gallstones several years back. However, the pain that is in my mid right side back and radiates under my ribs stops right where I used to have the galbladder pains at. But it definitely did not hurt this bad or hurt in the back or even in the left side under the ribs at times. I did take your advice and wrote EVERYTHING down so my doc knows all of the issues I am having and I will not forget when I get there. Hopefully, it will be resolved quickly and I can actually start getting back to normal. I must admit that I am nervous as to why he insists we do this quickly after getting some abnormal blood tests. I wish I even knew what these tests are for but I guess I will find out soon enough. Thanks for your advice!

    • Jan Modric

      OKSoonermoom,

      “CA markers” are tumor markers, yes. Colon cleansing may make you dizzy – if this happens call the doctor about what to do. It’s important you clean the bowel completely for colonoscopy to be successful. From how your doctor reacted, I believe he knows well what needs to be done.

  • amy wool

    hey
    i have recently started to get real bad constipation problems i havent relieved myself in like a month and when i do only a small amount comes out,
    i have also suffered from most of the points mentioned above
    it gets really hard to sit down at times and know i am having problems with urinating.
    i am 18 years old
    is this normal? and what can i do to get my condition back to normal?
    many thanks x

    • Jan Modric

      amy wool,

      can you think what could trigger constipation? Are you under stress, have you changed diet, starting taking any drugs, do you drink enough water, are you physically active (walking at least)? Do you have fever, rash or other symptoms? You will need to solve this, one month without a bowel movement is a serious problem. Your doctor should tell you how to empty your bowel, and if you need to treat eventual dehydration or other problems.

  • BabyMama

    Ever since I had my 2nd child on 11.04.09, I’ve been constipated and have hemorrhoids. I started taking laxatives and then I had to take more and more. It started from once every few days to once after every meal. I even took some type of tea to help me but it was bad because it made my stomache hurt and was uncontrollable. Going to the bathroom was like having a baby without meds all over again. It was painful!

    It slowly got better and I told my ob about it but she said it’s normal and just eat fiber and exercise. Well I work a 12hr shift which we have to mostly be on our feet the whole night and I eat fruits all the time, drink water and yet I’m still constipated.

    Lately it has become worse and when I push, it seems as if I’m not making any progress. It’s as if nothing is moving when I push. When I am done however, my rectum seems to be loose and hanging; I guess it’s probably because of the hemorrhoids.

    I have also found some string-like segments in my stools. I’m thinking maybe worms also? I remember us having a bad case of fleas or mites last summer in our home because my husband raise chickens and pigeons at a farm so maybe I got the parasite from them(hopefully I don’t have parasites). I also have been having hunger pang like feelings/abdominal pain even right after eating.

    Could it be something more serious and severe than just constipation and hemmorrhoids?

    • Jan Modric

      BabyMama,

      string-like segments in the stool, constipation and hunger pangs could actually be from intestinal worms. Stool test for “Ova and Parasites” exist. Other causes of food craving after a meal:
      – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Dx is by a beath test for SIBO.
      – hypoglycemia after a meal. Dx is by a blood test for glucose
      – fructose malabsorption. To check, if you have fructose malabsorption, you can make a few days lasting low-fructose diet.

  • blckdup

    I recently had a bout of severe constipation according to an xray. I usually have a bowel movement every 2-3 days. I have been having a “pinching” pain in my left upper abdomen for a few months that comes and goes and quite a bit of gas. Recently I developed some major lower abd pain that felt like gas pain, during the course of the day, the lower abd pain got better but I started having pressure in my abd. I later had 2 fairly normal bowel movements, the pain continued so that night I went to have an xray only to find my complete colon blocked to “the rim”. How could I be so severely constipated yet still having bowel movements? I drank a bottle of mag and was “cleaned out” but I’m still having the pinching pain in my left upper quad. What could be causing this?

    • Jan Modric

      blckdup,

      are you male or female, how old are you, what’s your general diet, are you physically active? Constipation and bloating themselves may, I guess, cause a “pinching” abdominal pain. When did constipation start, and are you often constipated? Any underlying chronic disease? Depending on your age, something could obstruct your bowel from inside or outside, but an X-ray (without contrast?) is not enough to reveal this.

  • Maryalice

    I had a c-section 3 years ago due to an emergency for a premature delivery. I had alot of different medicine including painkillers, some to reduce my blood pressure, and magnesium sulfate for sezuire due to pregnancy. After the c-section I was severely constipated and when I went to the bathroom a week later, I strained and i was bleeding very badley. I developed an anal fissure, I changed my diet like the doctor told me, even though the dr. said the fissure was gone it still hurts i get hemmroids, and I have gained over 100 pounds. they told me there is nothing they can due,”they have tried everything.” My stomach is very descended and it actual feels like a bowling ball in my stomach, and it feels like i did when i was pregnant(movement) It hurts very badly when i have a bowel movement and it is never soft,nothing works. I really need Help!!!

    • Jan Modric

      Maryalice,

      the doctor should make a rectal examination, and then other investigations as needed (rectoscopy, CT…)

  • Maryalice

    I also wanted to say that when i was putting cream that the dr recommended on inside for the hemmroids I felt like a larger bump on the inside wall. It felt 3 times the size of my usual hemroids. the hemmroids always feel like they are a growth, where as this feels like it is growing from under the skin, almost like a cyst would do on your skin,I’m very nervous. thank you

  • Maryalice

    thank you very much.In your opinon, Do you think it could be anal cancer? I donot have insurance until next month and i’m wondering if I should wait or may go for an emergency visit.Thank you for your time.

    • Jan Modric

      Maryalice,

      colorectal rarely appears before age of 50. It grows slowly, so if you have checked your rectum once and was nothing there, it is not likely that a colorectal cancer would develop to an obvious size in few months. Abscess would be likely quite painful, so I’m not sure what to think about it.

  • Maryalice

    Or are these symptoms from an anal fissure. it just sounds like more then that to me.

  • Maryalice

    thank you very much. my main conceren was just my severe weight gain. I was overweight my whole life then, became bulemic and lost my weight, after I had my baby i had the fissure and gained it back with chronic constipation. Could a previous eating disorder have something to do with my severe weight gain? no matter what i do the healthy weigh i continue on gaining weight. Thank you for answering my questions you have been a wonderful help!

    • Jan Modric

      Maryalice,

      I guess the anal fissure and constipation make you less active. Worries may make you depressed and you maybe eat more than you are aware of. I recommend you to set a firm goal, for example to solve the fissure problem, whatever it takes. Be sure to insist until the fissure is completely healed. Your doctor should tell you what exactly the lump in the rectum is. If rectal examination will not be enough, the doctor (gastroenterologist) can use a rectoscope to check it (no preparation is necessary). In meantime you can have some basic tests (hormone levels – thyroxine, prolactine…, glucose, etc) to see if there is any underlying disorder contributing to obesity.

  • uncomfortable

    I am a 21 year old female, otherwise healthy. I have been having chronic constipation, extreme bloating, abdominal pain, and blood when i do have a BM for almost 3 years now, also recently it has slowely gotten alot worse and i am having pencil thin stools or just diarrhea and having stringy muscous and more blood. I usually go maybe 1/week or 1/2weeks. I am extremely bloated and end up almost in bed miserable and uncomfortable then i end up with diarrhea. I get nauseated and vomit a few times a week, i also vomited up some hard ball looking things and I had diarrhea at the same time with the same things. I also have so much noises coming from my stomach sometimes, not all the time. (Can someone vomit feces?) I drink prune juice 2 times a day, all lean meats, oatmeal or yogart or flax/wheat cereal, salad, LOTS of water, fiber bars, and I excersise 2 times a day and run everyday 2-4 miles. I live a very healthy lifestyle and have always, but i have been embarrassed of this since it started but it is to the point i cant take it anymore. I told my primary care dr and she referred me to a GI. They can not get me in for over a month. I am very worried and uncomfortable. I have been told i am anemic and had to take iron during my pregnancy. I also have a family h/o colon CA. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Jan Modric

      uncomfortable,

      blood in the stool is considerd medical emergency. Pencil thin stools suggest a narrowing in the rectum. It’s not likely you have a colorectal cancer at your age, but there could be a polyp, inflamed diverticle or something other. I strongly recommend you to ask for an earlier appointment, or if you think you can go through an ER. You should have blood test for iron and get oral iron supplements (or preferable by injection, since oral iron can upset your bowel even more).

      Prune juice, fiber bars and oats can all produce a lot of gas, as can many fruits, soda and other foods high in fructose or sorbitol.

      Nausea and vomiting could be from partial bowel (colon?) obstruction. You could vomit bile (bitter taste).

      I can assure you gastroenterologists are used to any kind of disorders, and I’m sure they will take you seriously and will be able to help you.

  • wantshelp

    I am a 18 year old female and I am having really uncomfortable bowel troubles. I’ve been prone to constipation alot when I was younger and would sometimes bleed from the strain of passing stools. Lately I constantly feel like a need to go to the toilet, but often can’t when I try, or have diarrhoa sometimes or only pass a small amount. I occasionally still bleed from straining. Also a white mucus has started coming out of my anus when I pass stools, or when I am trying. I also feel the need to urinate very frequntly, I’m not sure if it is related, but this, coupled with the contant need to pass stools (and often not being able to) and the fact I have a very weak bladder, is really really inconvenient and uncomfortable. I am often quite bloated and feel very uncomfortable in the abdomen at times (almost like i can feel that my colon/intestines are ‘blocked up’ a long way and that eating things would just sit on top of it..but it feels alot better when I pass stools, but then comes back frequently or doesn’t stay away long as I only pass a small amount of stool). I eat fairly well – quite a bit of fruit and vegetables, I drink a fair bit of water too. I don’t eat healthy all the time though and it feels alot worse then I eat junk food/lots of carbohydrates etc i think. But it often is still bad when I am eating really well. I don’t exercise heaps, but am fairly active (walking to and from work train station etc) and I play netball. I am very stressed lately though and feel anxoius alot so I dont know if this is affecting it at all. help or information or advice would be so much appreciated.

    • Jan Modric

      wantshelp,

      frequent urination can be triggered by a distended rectum pressing upon the bladder. There are several causes of bloating, like there can be a substance (lactose, fructose, fats, bile) not absorbed in the small intestine, entering the colon, where bacteria break it down and release gas. There can be an inflammation in the colon. A gastroenterologist can say which test to perform first.

      Lactose intolerance and fructose malabsorption can be resolved by a low-FODMAP diet. I mean, fructose and sorbitol from fruits and soft drinks can be a source of gas.

  • Krazy504Gal

    Some of you guys have no idea what constipation even is!!! Oh my Lord is this discouraging. I just spent the past five hours in an ER due to severe belly pain due to not having a bowl movement for LITERALLY 3 1/2 weeks!!! I had to lie on cold metal table with a gown on, and have a dirty old man doctor stick a hose like tube up my ass, so far I swore it was going to come out my throat. It was the most uncomfertable, embarressig thing I think I have ever gone through. I would do anything….anything… to be able to poop every 3-4 days because despite what you may say–THAT IS NOT CONSPITATION. I couldn’t even walk this morning when I got up out of bed my cramps were so bad. Mind you I am a beautiful young girl who just started college and should not be having these medical problems. Ever since I was a baby my ma and dad said I would strain and my little face would turn bright red from trying to go in my diaper. Now here I am, 19 years later, still straining, still getting urinary track infections due to being so BLOCKED UP, still feeling so completly full of shit that I cant enjoy food, I can’t enjoy sex, and I most certainly can’t enjoy life. Not when I am throwing up from being so backed up. Errrrrrrrrr, will this ever end? Nothing works. Not mineral oil. Not prunes, not laxitives, enemas, stool softners, NOTHING!!!!!!! Help =( I just want to be a normal person who digests their good normally, as I am sure all of you do too. People don’t think this is something that effects your every day life but it does, am I right? And they just blow it off like it’s a joke. Well, it’s NOT! And if any of you out there know what I am going through, for real, none of this “I haven’t gone to the bathroom in 4 days” crap. I mean for real. Then please feel free to comment back. I will be checking. Thanks and God bless to you all!

    • Jan Modric

      504Gal,

      not crazy, right?, one possibility is some inborn disorder of your colon or rectum, for example Hirschsprung’s disease or other. I do not know, if the investigation you had was a colonoscopy, and if a sample of the colonic tissue (biopsy), which could confirm a mentioned disorder, was made. In any case, it’s likely that constipation lasting from ever is a structural, organic problem and an experienced gastroenterologist should know which investigations to perform.

  • Readymade

    Alright, so I have major stomach problems. Where it will spasm a full day to the point where I’m crying, and then it just disappears. Well I went to the Doctor to find out what it was from, but they couldn’t find anything. They say it could be from anxiety so they put me on Lexapro. That was almost four weeks ago and I haven’t been able to have a bowel movement since a week before that visit. So it’s been about a whole month and I haven’t gone to the bathroom and I have literally tried everything I can do at home. I’ve done every kind of enema there is, used my fingers, and my mothers (shes a nurse), taken lots of fiber, lots of water (though I regularly have great amounts of fiber and water anyways), tried laxatives, colon cleanse, milk of magnesia, miralax, you name it I’ve taken it.

    My mother, the nurse, says the only other option she can think of is going to the hospital. I will not allow myself to go to the hospital for at least another week because I have finals in school and I can NOT miss them.

    I was wondering if there is possibly anything else I can do, or if indeed I will have to go to the hospital..

    Help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Jan Modric

      Readymade,

      I believe that enema or whatever it takes to empty the bowel can be made fairly quickly in the hospital, so you my not need to stay there overnight.

  • HBenny

    I am 29 years old, have had occasional constipation with 2-3 BM’s each week for over a year. In the past 2 months I have taken on a new job and I am excessively stressed. Even when I’m not working I am often unable to have a BM. I started taking Senna, one tablet,once a month about 6 months ago, and have increased it to once a week, 2 tabs at once. This is just barely working for me now, the stools are small in quantity, and the bloating is terrible. I have BM’s once every 4-5 days now, very frustrating. I used to be an avid exerciser, I no longer do this, I admit I am caffeine addict, with maybe 24 oz of water a day. Have I damaged the muscles of my colon by increasing Senna? Can I get back my colon with increased water, higher fiber, and completely stopping Senna?

    • Jan Modric

      HBenny,

      Senna is highly addictive, so I recommend you to switch to “usual bowel stimulation” by measures you’ve mentioned. Physical activity and mental activity (fighting with stress or depression) are also important.

  • Misty

    My husband had surgery on a severe ruptured disc, which created pain in his leg along with numbness in the foot. A few days after surgery, he had his first bowel movement. He told me it was very painful and felt like he passed a baseball. I gave him milk of magnesia one night to try to help soften the stool. He woke with severe cramps but finally went to the bathroom a few times. All very loose stools. It has been two days since that happened. Now, he has only had two movements since with very thin stools. Is that normal, or could the hard stool have damaged his colon? I worry that he strained an reinjured the disc in the back, too. Originally, the disc was pressing on the sciatic nerve. What do you think? This all happened over the weekend when the doctor’s office was closed. Everyone talks constipation, but no one addresses the damage it might cause afterward.

    • Jan Modric

      Misty,

      a day or two without a bowel movement is not a big deal. The colon might be still slowed down from all the stress and medications (painkillers). Your husband can eat foods rich in dietary fiber and drink enough water to maintain soft stools. He can avoid suggary and fatty foods to prevent constipation. I do not recommend triggering bowel movements with laxatives, if there is no special need. Stools were probably loose from milk of magnesia.

      Vigorous straining could actually result in anal fissure, but otherwise it is not likely that the colon or spine would be affected. If bowel movements will be still problematic after a week, he may speak with the doctor.

  • elizabeth

    Hello,
    I have not had a bowel movement in about 2 months. I can say something like this has happened a couple times and eventually I just end up going. However, I have recently been on methadone for about 6 weeks now and I have read that is a sure sign of a reason for constipation. My boyfriend begs me to go to the hospital because I dont have a family doctor im not in huge pain like i dont have stomach aches im only bloated sometimes. However, now its just getting to the point where I do always feel like I have to use the bathroom but I cant expell it into the toilet. Its prevented me from doing normal daily activities. I have tried an enema but it didnt work, I do not think I did it properly though. Ive read everything I can online and diagnosed myself with Fecel Impactation. What medication should I take to help relieve me of this pain, like I said I havent had a bowel movement in over two months. If I go to a walkin clinic, or hospital can they even do anything for me?

    • Jan Modric

      elizabeth,

      in a clinic, they can give you appropriate laxative or enema, or they may irrigate your colon. I encourage you to solve this soon.

  • tanya214

    My 3yr old has been experiecing constipation since birth but in the last 2 months it has gotten worst where nothing is working. I am having to give her a enema once a week because she is in contanst pain. Doctors are telling me by her age and size there is pretty much nothing I can do but keep giving her the enema. Is there another solution?

    • Jan Modric

      tanya214,

      a reliable pediatric gastroenterologist could say if any investigation would be needed. Certain inborn disorders, like Hirschsprung’s disease can be present from birth but symptoms may worsen later. It is not usual for the small child to be constantly constipated.

  • Lulu

    Since I got hypokalemia(low potassium levels) I have had extreme constipation for 2 months. I am now being treated and I get the urge to expell but when I go to the bathroom it is SO painful and I feel like it is a large hard stool that I cannot pass. Are there any at home remedies that I can try out to help me pass the stool?

  • vanessa

    I’ve not had a bowel movement for nearly a week now. For the past two days I’ve felt a hard stool which I just can’t pass however much I try. I’ve just come back on holiday (four weeks) and I had constipation the whole time, and it has got worst. Before the bowel movement last week I hadn’t had a bowel movement for a week before that, but managed to dislodge it with the help of glicerin suppositories, although I was in a lot of pain for hours afterwards. Now nothing works, I’ve tried suppositories, stool softeners, prune juice, etc. I admit my diet was pretty poor while I was away, but I’m now living on brown rice, fruit and salad. The constipation is keeping me up all night as the stool is giving me a lot of discomfort and keeps trying to push out of my anus, I’ve also got cramps in my abdomen and lower back, and feel dizzy and feverish, and am desperate to get the stool out. Help!!! p.s.: this is a ongoing problem, I tend to have periods where I experience chronic constipation, and it usually responds to change in diet and stool softeners, but because of stress and busy life I find it difficult to sustain the diet.

    • Jan Modric

      vanessa,

      you need to resolve this right away. It seems you are dizzy because of dehydration, so you have to drink. If you can’t remove the stool, go to the ER, or to a gastroenterologist, who can remove it manually or by using enema. If you try hard yourself, an anal fissure may develop and this can cause weeks and months of additional problems with defectaion.

      Skipping meals can really aggravate constipation. Having meals at about same hours every day can help, especially regular breakfast as soon as you get out of the bed. Foods that can help to relieve constipation.

  • vanessa

    I’m also finding it fiicult to drink water at the moment as passing water seems to be impossible without me trying passing a bowel movement, resulting in double discomfort.

  • angweber

    I am 36 yr old female, I was diagnosed with IBS when I was an infant. I try to avoid dairy, I eat whole wheat oatmeal with fresh fruit every AM along with a soy latte, I eat a lot of vegetables and my proteins of choice for the day are usually, salmon, white fish, chicken, and tofu. I’ll have red meat once every 3-4 months. I drink lemon water daily I and use olive oil freely. I exercise at least 1 hour a day.
    I’ve had to be careful about what I eat most of my life. I once had lobster and ended up in hospital with illeitis. I have had hemorrhoids off and on in my 30’s, and bloating and constipation since my teens. It is not unusual for me to go 3-4 days without a bowel movement. I had a colonoscopy when I was in my late 20’s that didn’t reveal anything. And a CT scan when I was 31 (illeitis hospital stay). I use enema’s and Senna a couple times a month.
    This last week, I have severe constipation, with some new symptoms: I feel like I have a huge air pocket where my stomach and my lower esophagus connect, there is a lot of pressure, I can burp but when the air comes up it feels constricted. This pressure is accompanied with a sharp pain in my back, the vertebrae feels as though it’s directly in back of this pressure in the front (lower thoracic/upper lumbar). The night this started I had had a deep tissue massage and sushi for dinner. I’ve been under a lot of stress this last month, so I’m sure that’s a piece of the puzzle, I ha had a couple of days where I ate poorly and had too much alcohol, but it was separated by about 6 days from this pain starting.
    So far I’ve tried:
    a perfect diet for last 5 days
    Acid reflux meds
    gas X
    apple cider vinegar
    chiropractic visits x2
    muscle relaxer
    and laxatives.

    Any thoughts on the pressure in my stomach and the back pain? I can’t seem to do anything about it.

    • Jan Modric

      angweber,

      pain starting after a deep massage could be from physical injury of certain tissues, especially if the pain is triggered by body movements. You are not mentioning any tender spots, though, so hard to tell. Abdominla bloating from gas can cause abdominal pain; not sure if it can cause “sharp pain in the back”.

  • Unhappy709

    Hi.
    I have been struggling with constipation now for over a year. My doctor put me on align and it worked until i got pregnant. Then my OB said to take peri colace everyday if i had too. So thats what I did. I have been taking peri colace everyday since Sept 2009. I have to take 4 a day. If i don’t take it I won;t beable to go. My body can’t really tell when it has to go. I just get bloated. I have tried amitza and that dosen’t work either. I just need help. It affects me everyday. People think its funny, its not. My day revolves around it. I can’t go anywhere before 10am because of taking the peri colace. Its all i can think about. My diet hasnt changed much. I drink a tons of water. Nothing works besides peri colace. They told me it wouldnt become addicting, but i fear it has. Please help me. Is there a medication out there for a lazy colon?

    • Jan Modric

      Unhappy709,

      it would help me understand your situation better, if you tell which all symptoms do you have (constipation, bloating, belching, changed color or consistence of the stool, mucus in the stool, nausea..?), and how has your constipation started (suddenly, because of stress…?), also what is your current diet. Have you had any gastrointestinal symptoms before constipation has started? Did fruits or other foods trigger symptoms?

  • Laura

    Hi, I’m Laura. I’m 17 and have chronic constipation as well as kidney and bladder problems resulting in recurring kidney infections. My doctors told be that my bowel is sitting on my bladder and have told me that I have to treat it aggressively. At the moment I’m on senna 4 tablets a day and it don’t matter how many tablets and what type of laxatives I take it still results in very bad pain it’s very embarrassing as it can happen in public in families homes and as I never talk about my constipation to anyone but my parents. As the pain can be very painful and unbearable and uncomfortable I don’t know what to do hoe can I cope, should I consult my doctor about this problem? I find this issue very hard to talk about face to face. The pain can sometimes be triggered by stress sometimes and if it’s bad I can have nausea and dizzy spells, I just want to give up. Please help I’m at the end of my tether with this problem. Thanks

    • Jan Modric

      Laura,

      I recommend you to ask the doctor openly, what exactly means that “your bowel is sitting on your bladder” and if a surgery would be needed. If even so strong laxatives, like senna don’t help, I’m not sure if you will be able to solve this with laxatives on long term.

  • frustrated

    I am extrememly frustrated. After reading all of these blogs and the answers…it appears as though the recommendations are repetitive and DO NOT HELP!!! Fiber, water, fruits, vegies…I’ve heard it all before and nothing works. And to top it off…doctors do NOT help either. So the only solution is HELP YOURSELF. Research the internet as if it were your doctor and maybe you’ll have some luck there. Good luck and many prayers to you all! Send some my way too!

  • DQ101

    Dear Jan,

    I have been suffering from severe constipation for the last 5 days. Did not have any bowl movement during these days. For the last couple of days, I’ve felt a hard stool which I just can’t pass however much I try. Now I have a continuous feeling that I want to go, but I cannot push anything out. Since I am an observant muslim, I know that the reason stems from the fasting during the month of Ramadan (I have only one meal a day). Can I take Laxatives to resolve this issue now, or it is too late since the stool is already hard and I cannot push it out?

    Many thanks for your help!

    • Jan Modric

      DQ101,

      you may try to break the hardened stool into small pieces with a gloved finger and excrete it part by part. Do not try to use any stick or any other object of any kind. To prevent further constipation, I strongly recommend you to include more fiber (especially soluble fiber – here’s a list of foods high in dietary fiber) and water in your meals – this will make your stools bulkier and softer and thus easier to excret. Also try to have bowel movements after meals, since the food that comes in the stomach triggers muscle contractions in the colon and thus helps in bowel movement.

  • LMS818

    I am 22 years old. I have always had very regular bowel movements, usually at least one per day. However, I have only had two in the last five weeks. I do not take any medications, haven’t changed my diet at all, I exercise regularly, eat healthy, and drink a lot of water. I have tried laxatives, prune juice, etc ,and nothing works. My stomach looks puffy and I feel bloated and uncomfortable. Is there anything else I should try?

    • Jan Modric

      LMS818,

      I can’t exclude intestinal bloackage – there could be polyps, intestinal worms – so I recommend you to see a doctor.

  • LMS818

    Thanks Jan. It all began when I ate out a restaurant and had a very upset stomach right afterward. Ever since then I have been constipated. I am feeling increasingly worse this week (bloated, general discomfort) and am seeing a doctor this Friday.

    • Jan Modric

      LMS818,

      seeing a doctor sounds as a good decision.

  • lindad

    pain on left side constantly,now spreading to the right,severe constipation,nothing helps,fibre,liquids,laxatives,feel like having my colon ripped out.

    • Jan Modric

      lindad,

      what is your diet, when did constipation start, do you take any drugs, do you have a sedentary life style, how old are you, male or female?

  • Ms. Smith

    I have not had a bowel movement in 4 weeks. What’s the risk and will colon hydrotherapy help me with this issue?

    • Jan Modric

      Mr. Smith,

      one possible risk is that the stool hardens and you won’t be able to excrete it with your own force. Or, some crack may occur during excretion. I recommend you to visit a doctor, who can give you exact instructions about what to do.

  • tamela

    i’ve jus recently given birth and i was fine with my bowels nothing i wasn’t used to and now this morning i woke up hardly able to breath feeling nauscious and every time i tried to push i felt like my insides were going to fall out of my vagina is that normal for constipation

    • Jan Modric

      tamela,

      if not caused by certain foods, low in fiber (chocolate, sweets, meat..) or foods that yield a lot of gas (oatmea, beans..), or certain medications, constipation could be from a partial blockage of the bowel due to intestinal parasites, for example or some organic cause..but hard to say from symptoms lasting one day. Gas may result in quite some pressure and nausea can appear in constipation, but still I can’t say is it a dietary or organic cause or food poisoning…

      I recommend you to avoid sugary foods, including fruits, and oats, legumes..and try whole grain bread, green vegetables, brown rice to prevent further constipation and bloating. Foods that may relieve constipation .

      If constipation worsens, visit a doctor.

  • MK

    Hello–My mom (76) developed severe constipation this summer, I think due to dehydration, not diet, as she is a semi-vegetarian. Ended up in the ER; her whole system was full. They did x-ray, CAT scan, gave her enemas & later we did Go-Lytely, which seemed to help clear things out. But a month later she is still not ok–we have her drinking water & juices, taking psyllium & probiotics, etc. She can only go now with a senna laxative, but when she does she doesn’t feel much better. She is miserable, cries a lot, has lost weight and seems to be fading away. I honestly am not sure she will survive this. Her doc seems unable to help & recommended just a colonoscopy–GI doc backed up almost *2* months. I am at my wits end… Any thoughts? Thanks so much.

    • Jan Modric

      MK,

      colonoscopy is not so bad idea. Colonic polyps of any type (including cancer), for example, can cause constipation and this can cause bloating. So, if this was recommended by a doctor, it should be doon as soon as possible.

      If she is not taking any antibiotics, probiotics are not likely of any use and can aggravate bloating. Psyllium husk, as other sources of soluble fiber makes stool softer, but can also produce a lot of gas.

      Intestinal parasites can also cause constipation and bloating. Diagnosis is with a stool test for parasites, treatment is with prescribed medications.

      If she feels week, some basic blood tests can reveal iron or vitamin deficiencies or other disorder.

  • kingmarki

    My wife suffers from severe constipation. She had a perforated bowel several years ago, leading to several surgeries, colostomy bag, final surgery to take down colostomy bag about 18 months ago. She regularly goes 10 to 14 days without movement. A 3 weeks ago she was hospitalized and had a colonoscopy during which they removed about 20 pollops. Since she left the hospital, she has only had 2 or 3 tiny bits pass. She is in severe pain, bloated and has tried everything they recommend. Stool softener, lactalose, more fiber, more water, exercise, etc. Dr.s are scratching their heads acting as if no one has ever had severe constipation before. She is 54, in decent health other than back her injury, ruptured discs. Any suggestions or anywhere we can go for help? We just retired to a little village in Maine and would love to enjoy our retirement and live long health & happy lives. Thank you for any help! Marki R.

    • Jan Modric

      kingmarki,

      it’s possible that polyps have contributed to constipation. Constipation after surgery is also common. Diverticulosis or some other cause of colonic call weakness is another possible cause (I suspect this because you’ve mentioned colonic rupture). Several polyps found means that other polyps may appear with time. Polyps at 54 are a strong risk factor for colonic cancer, but a surgeon can tell, if the exact type of polyps removed also represent a risk for cancer.

      The question is, if it is worth to have a colon that can rupture at any random time and in which cancer may develop. Colon can be completely removed and the end of the small intestine connected to anal canal without any considerable side effect for absorption of nutrients.

      Eventual pain from the ruptured disc can additionally aggravate constipation. Ruptured discs can be successfully treated by surgery.

      Even small amounts of certain foods, like chocolate or French fry can aggravate constipation. Oatmeal and other foods high in *soluble* fiber can help.
      Foods that may cause constipation http://www.healthhype.com/foods-that-cause-constipation.html
      Foods that may relieve constipation: http://www.healthhype.com/foods-that-cause-constipation.html

  • Scott

    I’m a 19 year old Male, and about weeks ago I had to use the bathroom, and when I went it hurt really bad, but I got it out. Then the next day I had to use it again, and it hurt really bad as well, but I eventually got it out. Ever since then I’ve been having problems making a Bowel Movement. I will have a urge to go, but when I go to the toilet the urge goes away, and nothing comes out, and when I do go, I have to strain really hard, and only a little comes out, and this has been going on for around a week now. I’ve also been experiencing some bad Chest pains, mainly on the left side of my upper chest, and I’ve been burping a bit, and just feel horrible. I’ve been really stressing out, and scared to death that I’m having a heart attack. I hurt really bad in my Stomach, and I’m bloated around my gut area, and can feel gas inside. These pains in my chest have been going on for about 3-4 days now. he Doc gave me some medicine for my Bowel Movment’s, and they seem to make me have an Urge to go, but it’s hard to get it out. I have to strain, but the stool isn’t hard. Anybody know what could be wrong with me? I’m really scared, and been stressing out alot. I’m on the verge of loosing my job becasue I’ve been so scared.

    • Jan Modric

      Scott,

      is bloating in the upper middle abdomen or in the lower abdomen?

      possible causes of burping, bloating and constipation include, stomach infection with bacterium Helicobacter pylori, intestinal parasites, fructose malabsorption, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and other gastrointestinal conditions. A gastroenterologist should know which tests to make. Chest pain could be, among other, caused by gas in the bowel pressing upon the diaphragm.

  • Scott

    Jan, the Bloating is in my lower Abdomen.

    • Jan Modric

      Scott,

      I can’t give any helpful recommendation, but you can visit a gastroenterologist, who can make a stool test for parasites or whatever he/she will find necessary. It’s quite possible something is happening in your colon, blocking the stool to come out, causing gas and pushing upon the diaphragm resulting in chest pain. Colon cancer is rare before 40 years of age.

  • Pingback: What Causes Constipation? | Healthhype.com()

  • WorriedMOM

    My daughter is 21 years old. She has had chronic constipation since she was born. Her stool so hard and large it cannot be flushed down the toilet. She normally goes q2-3w weeks between bowel movements with the occasional movement producing a few very small round hard stools. (We call them rabbit droppings). Right now is gone 4 1/2 weeks with out a BM. She is very uncomfortable, very fatigued, bloated, no fever, no meds, high fiber diet, Active, graduating in the Spring so she has a normal stress of college but nothing crazy, has been investigated for Hirsprungs, which they say she doesnt have, and had a endoscope which showed “Megacolon?” and a barium enema which only showed that she had reflux causing an esphogeal web. That was when she was about 12. 3-6 weeks between BM’s seems very dangerous to me. I am afraid of her perforating her colon or ending up with a prolapse of some sort, or diverticulitis, fissures, etc. But, right now, I am just thinking that this could be very serious, as this is the longest she has gone without a BM.
    She is going to do a Magnesium Citrate tonite and try to cleanse herself. Another concern is that her 15 year old sister is exactly the same. Yet we have 6 children, 3 boys, 3 girls, and only 2 of the girls have this condition. I am very serious when I say that we cannot flush these down the toilet. They are the size of eggplants. Very heavy and very hard, as we have to get them out and dispose of them, so we know.
    I know she needs to get to a Gastro-guy, but is their any immediate concern with this 4 1/2 week lapse, in which I should take her to the ER? And, is there something else we should be telling the Gastroenterologist to get his attention? As she has been to a few and she also mentions it to her OB/GYN who blows it off and tells her to eat more fiber. Thanks!

    • Jan Modric

      WorriedMOM,

      going to ER could be a good idea, since they can flush her bowel safely without the risk of damaging the anus. In 4+ weeks the stool can become really large and can eventually cause the anal fissure. You’ve mentioned “megacolon”. Megacolon means distended colon with weakened wall from various causes, including hereditary ones (it’s possible your other daughter has the same condition). Megacolon can very well be the cause of constipation. The exact type of megacolon can be determined by a colonoscopy. The condition is managed with appropriate diet, and if this does not work, one possibility is a surgical removal of distended part of the colon (and to connect the healthy parts of the colon “end to end”, so without a colostomy).

      She should drink enough fluid to prevent dehydration, which may be a cause of fatigue. Eating more fiber helps to maintain soft stools, but after weeks of constipation, fiber may become contraproductive, since it may release a lot of gas. I recommend you to ask a gastroenterologist to make appropriate investigations to determine the exact cause of megacolon.

  • WorriedMOM

    Thanks. She did have a colonscopy a couple years back. It was negative. I am so confused.
    She did do the Magnesium Citrate yesterday, which produce one, very small, bowel movement, with bright red blood. She was pretty freaked out by the blood. I told her that bright red blood is not usually something to be worried about. I am making her an appt with the Gastro-guy tomorrow. Hopefully they can get her in soon. Does she need to go to the ER soon?

    • Jan Modric

      WorriedMOM,

      red blood in the stool may be from some “banal” cause, like ruptured hemorrhoid, but any blood in stool is considered as urgent condition, since you can’t really say where does the blood come from. Four weeks of constipation is enough of reason to get some help soon to prevent complications, like anal fissure and to find the cause of constipation. You can ask a gastroenterologist to go through her medical documentation and explain what exactly does “megacolon” you’ve mentioned mean.

  • jessica

    Since my c section 3 years ago I have been having bloating,constipation, hard pebble like stools(having to strain), vision problems(blurred/double vision). In the past year I have gained 75 pounds on a small 5-4 frame i am now 220 pounds, more then i weighed during my pregnancy. I typically weighed 130 and cannot seem to loss any weight, I have even went a few days without eating while taking fat burns and still put on weight. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am a mom of a 3 year old and am having trouble breathing from the extra weight.

    • Jan Modric

      jessica,

      if you think you drink enough water and eat food with a sufficient amount of fiber and you don’t take any constipating drugs…than constipation and blurred vision could be explained by weak bowel and eye muscles. The original cause could be a neurological or hormonal problem, but your personal doctor could be more exact after examining you and ordering certain basic blood tests. You can check this personal medical history questionnaire to get prepared for an appointment.

  • Wendy Schubert

    I had my leg amputated 2 months ago due to a bone infection. I have been constipated ever since. I eat a high fiber diet with a lot of veggies. I am unable to do much in the way of exercise except for standing to gain endurance on one leg and wheel chair push-ups. The pain is horrible as is the cramping. I have tried milk of mag a couple of times, but I am afraid of becoming dependent on laxatives. In addition, I have frequent blood transfusions due to having myleodysplastic dysplastic syndrome which causes severe anemia (confirmed by tests including a bone marrow biopsy). Any thoughts/suggestions as to what I can do to help myself?

    • Hi Wendy. Constipation in your condition may be due to several factors – strong painkillers (if you are using it), other medication as well, being sedentary and so on. It is also interesting to note that many people who are anemic also tend to suffer with constipation although exact correlation is not conclusively known. Given your ailments, it would be advisable to first speak to your doctor before making any drastic lifestyle/dietary changes. You may find that certain exercises like gentle ab crunches could also help if your doctor gives you the green light.

  • Faye

    I had a real bad bout with constipation (I think due to eating allot of bread that I was not use to eating.), this lasted on our 7 day vacation. Finally after getting “some” relief when we returned I started having a dull ache, pain about 3″ from my navel straight across on left side. After eating or allot of fluid intake it starts. After digestion and not eating it goes away. It feels as if something is pressing against something and making it worse when I eat. I did have a gastric bypass years ago and had a lower left bowl twist that resolved itself two years ago. This was not due to the same problem. Any insight? thanks

    • HI Faye. In a situation such as this an abdominal ultrasound or MRI may be helpful. If it occurs immediately after eating then the problem may more likely be arising from the upper part of the gut, like the stomach.

      From what you describe, it seems to be placed more towards the lower part of the abdomen. This is somewhat the region where the last part of the colon ends. As you also mentioned, you are constipated. The eating or drinking large amounts could cause the stomach to press on this part of the colon, which may be full of feces or even there may be fecal impaction.

      It can also arise from bowel contractions that start up shortly after eating, and given you constipation this can lead to bowel pain. Your previous twisting of the bowels, if it has recurred, could also be causing an obstruction. The best approach would be to see a doctor as soon as you can.

      • Faye

        Thanks so much!!!

        Faith

        • asma

          Hi there,
          my daughter is 4 years old now and she has constipation problem when she was 1.5,i use to gave her brown sugar with orange juice and she loves to eat all kinds of fruits bt still it wont help!
          When her constipation started she was on formula milk and we changed lots of milk and add fruits to her diet and started using brown bread and it helped for some time but she is very sensitive now if i wont gave her any fruit for 2 or 3 days she has her constipation back! nutelle,cheese,cold milk,choc all makes her constipated bt previously she was able to do poop once daily if she has a well maintained balanced diet although she ate all these foods bt little bit bt now she do poop once in two days and more sensitive to these foods…last year she had stomach aches for 1 week nd then we went on vacation and on the very first day she starts vomitting and we have to rush to the emergency nd they said its viral nd gave some kind of injection nd she was ok then..after that she had stomach pain after some months gap nd usually in the centre of belly just around naval button nd doc said its coz of worms nd gives vermox bt now for the past 1 month she has the same pain which is now worst nd she is on moxal nd yesterday she accidently passed urine nd wid dat she passed poop also on the floor(she never did that before)…bcoz of constipation nd stomach aches m so worried now plz tell me what should i do?her stomach pain usualy started after she ate something PLZ HELP SHE IS MY ONLY CHILD ND M SO WORRIED ABOUT HER!

  • Melody Daulton

    Friend has severe constipation for 3 to 5 months. He is on Suboxen strips and we know this can cause some constipation but he cannot go at all. He is so sore on his sides all the way around to his back that u cannot hardly touch him. Has taken any and all laxatives, stool softeners, enemas, drinks water still no results. It has been almost a week ago since he has had any kind of bowel movement and it was very tiny.

    • Hi Melody. Constipation is one of the common side effects of the medication that he is using. It is therefore very likely that it is drug induced, meaning that it is caused by the medication in question. Some of the measures he has taken to relieve the constipation may not be as effective while using this type of medication, as it would be for common constipation that is not drug-induced by narcotic prescription medication. It is important that he sees a doctor before complications like fecal impaction arises which can have serious adverse effects. This is not just a “simple” case of relieving constipation that can be done with over-the-counter medication and home remedies. Medical intervention is most probably necessary at this point.

      • Stephanietpires

        I am taking suboxone and I have been taking all kinds of laxatives and stool softeners, I even drank magnesium citrate . I have had small but wide bm’s but just not enough of them to feel better. I also have what I think are anal fissures which makes it very painful to go when I do get the urge. I have a call in to my Dr. I’m really concerned.

        • Hi Stephanietpires. As mentioned above this is a common side effect of the medication and sometimes laxatives and stool softeners may not do the trick. It can result in fecal impaction which may lead to serious complications if it is not treated appropriately. Your doctor will be able to advise you further.

  • Kaylee Boyd

    i dont know if im constipated but i think so. i have been having stomach aches and when i pee i have pains in my lower stomach and when i poop only a chunk comes out and it still feels like i have to go. Also i’ve had 2 uti’s and 1 yeast infection in the past 3 or 4 months. please help?

    • HI Kaylee. You may have constipation from what you say, if you find that it is difficult to pass stool and there is a feeling of incomplete evacuation after a bowel movement. However, not all of your symptoms may be due to constipation. From what you report, it seems that some of your symptoms may instead be a UTI or PID rather than just due to constipation. Some people, particularly women, can suffer with chronic UTIs which may require additional treatment above the standard measures for UTIs. It would be advisable that you consult with your doctor and see a specialist (urologist) for you UTI or related urinary problem before focusing on the constipation.

      • Kaylee Boyd

        Also to let you know i dont this its PID because im only 12 and not sexually active. And i have a doctors appointment in a few weeks do you think its too long to wait or will i be okay?

        • Hi Kaylee. It is difficult to say how urgently you need to seek medical attention. If it is indeed a chronic UTI then you would have had it for quite a while. Ideally you should see a doctor immediately if the pain or any other symptoms are worsening. Given your age it is advisable that you discuss this with your parents/guardians and let them make the decision about your medical care.

  • Heidi Rucker

    Yes I do have IBS and the meds I’ve been given through the yrs cause severe stomach pain and lots of bleeding so can’t take anything for it from docs. I hve multiple health issues that causes lots of issues being able to use the bathroom. I do c where it says if u strain it cld cause heart attack or stroke. Well everytime I have to strain my chest and arms start to burn like I’m on fire and then severe pain in both arms start what cld that be?? I have a heart condition as well. Cld this pain n severe burning I hve be a mild heart attack or stroke??? Also gt very light headed. Ty

    • Hi Heidi. Bleeding is usually not a symptom with IBS so we are not sure if you are referring to some other condition here. The chances of a heart attack or stroke with straining is very small and may be an issue for some people with severe underlying heart and blood vessel disease. Some people do feel symptoms that you describe with severe straining, even lightheadedness with straining. However, it is never advisable to strain to this degree as you could be doing damage to various parts of the gut or abdominal wall. At this point you may need specialist attention and a gastroenterologist may be the best practitioner to consult with at this point.

  • John

    Can anyone on the site point us to any resources that were used when writing this article regarding the possible connection with TIAs? I have a relative with chronic constipation who has had > 10 TIA-like episodes immediately after having bowel movements. We’re trying to figure out who has done research on that connection so we can reach out. Thanks.

    • Hi John. The author may have drawn some of his own conclusions on the matter based on possible mechanisms behind strokes/TIAs precipitated by factors such as bending, straining, sneezing and so on. You may find this link helpful http://pmj.bmj.com/content/75/881/145.full in the Postgraduate Medical Journal where the author does discuss a TIA case associated with straining on the toilet. If you search further for scholarly articles on the subject you may be able to find other resources.

  • jacob

    HELP!!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!
    Hello, today I went to the doctor after 3 days of god awful stomach pains, I told him my symptoms and he felt around on my belly and I have a fecal impaction, he’s said the impaction was at the top and right next and under it to the right, which is where the pain is, he prescribed me some miralax but from what I’m reading is the usual impaction occurs way lower and closer to the rectum say in the colon, but if the positioning is correct wouldn’t that be my large intestine? I’m pretty sure ur colon is on the bottom left so my blockage is way up the road.. So my question is, did my doctor write me off or will heavy miralax solve my blockage? I’m in severe pain btw, I was scared my appendix ruptured cause I’ve never felt anything like it, I’ve been impacted twice before but it was all right behind the rectum just too large to pass naturally but I can’t reach my large intestine with my fingers.. HELP!!

    • Hi Jacob. A portion of your colon lies as high up in the abdomen to actually slip under your ribs when you are lying down. So your doctor is not wrong, the colon can be that high up. The abdominal organs can change position slightly when standing compared to lying flat but it’s not a significant downward shift. The approach to fecal impaction, as it is with any condition, is in a step by step manner. If the first step does not work then the next step in the therapeutic protocol is implemented. So don’t write off the treatment you were prescribed. It may very well be effective so manually crushing the stool is not necessary. Just start with the treatment and see your doctor if you are not experiencing any success.

  • Janet Klingbeil

    Hi. I am two years post op rectal prolapse and reconstructive surgery,with mesh. I have very painful bowel movements that make me literally cry out in agonizing pain. The only way to prevent this is to stay in a constant state of very loose watery stools thru miralax. Could my surgery be too restrictive?

    • Hi Janet. It would be irresponsible of us to comment on your surgery and you should be following up with the surgeon or proctologist who was involved in your case at the time. If this pain started up well after the surgery then it may be possible that it has nothing to do with the procedure itself. Your rectum could be inflamed and this may be the source of the pain as the pressure during a bowel movement pushes the stool against it. The reason for the inflammation needs to be investigated. Your doctor will advise you accordingly.

  • Annabelle Wattenscheid

    I poop maybe 5-8 times a week. If I’m lucky I poop once a day. But this past week I don’t remember pooping at all. I am on my period. And pooping seems impossible. I have been in a lot of pain for the past 10 hours. But nothing is happening. I don’t want to go to the hospital because they will just pump me with drugs and send me home. I have gone to the hospital in the past and that’s all they have done for me. I need to find a way to stop my constipation because I can’t live like this. I missed ten days if school just this school year because if this. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

  • Amy

    My bowels only move about 3 times a month. I have to use enemas usually to start them so I’m not in sever pain.I get sick to stomach and can vomit foods that were ate at least 3 day before. Help I’m miserable

  • Stephanie Bishop

    I have been on laxatives since I was little…..seriously I don’t know what to do anymore fiber makes things worse! And I’ve heard “drink more water” if I drank anymore water I’d be sick from it! I can’t drink milk because it makes things worse and doctor gave me Linzess and told me to keep things moving I lost 20 pounds of feces!!! 20 POUNDS!!!! So I’m stuck with Milk of magnesium, Miralax and magnesium citrate every afternoon and in the morning I take the Linzess with 2 glasses of water….by afternoon my poop is very sticky and incredibly messy it’s very hard to pass. I’m absolutely miserable.

  • Hi Jane. There are many reasons why the constipation could have worsened. Age is one factor. So is the pain medication you may be taking for your spine problem. However, it may also occur with other conditons but this has to be diagnosed by a doctor. A colonoscopy is definitely warranted given you age and sudden change in bowel habit. Many people are scared by the thought of a colonoscopy but this procedure is commonly done everyday across the globe. It is better to have it done as soon as possible if your doctor feels it is warranted. The possible serious conditions that may be missed are far more scarier and possibly even deadly when diagnosed late. Your doctor will advise you further.

  • Howard Vogel

    Within the past two months my bowels have been very hard and small and I’ve recently developed a twinging pain on the lower left side of my abdomin. Not sensitive to the touch, but I am concerned. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Howard. It would be worth having it checked up. There are many reasons for a change in bowel habit, but one of these possible reasons is colorectal cancer. It does correlate with a lower left abdominal pain as well. However, do not worry immediately as there are other less serious conditions that could also be responsible. Rather speak to your doctor, go for the necessary investigations and only then will you know for sure.